q Expert panel - Business Reporter

Expert panel

A panel of experts shares their views on what the biggest priority is when preparing for the future of work.

Richard Westgarth

Head of campaigns



The biggest priority when preparing for the future of work will be the ability of companies to respond to a dynamic, if not turbulent, technology landscape. The rapid development of AI and related technologies will require business leaders to focus on the ability to recruit, promote talent and develop a network of teams, as traditional jobs change and as new roles and careers emerge. Companies must redesign organisational structures and create more fluid structures which centre on the worker, their ambitions and values, rather than on old-fashioned, functional hierarchy. Middle management layers will shrink.

The development of smart cities will result in changing worker’s views of “the office” and the commute, and will bring in flexible working patterns, possibly merging work and lifestyle. Career progression will be driven by individuals’ needs, rather than about climbing the slippery pole of management. Companies will have to replace outdated practices of management science (such as the rigid distribution of the bell curve) that are now becoming obsolete, and replace them with talent-based solutions that have greater appeal to millennials.


 Jada Balster

Vice president, marketing 




If we want to master modern work, we have to embrace, not fear, technology. I say that because robotics, automation, AI, and virtual reality aren’t theoretical dreams. They’re the here and now. We now need to really think about how we get the most from these exciting new technologies – the important questions to ask are, which jobs should humans do and which jobs should machines do, and then, what can we automate and when?

The value of embracing this cutting-edge technology will be in automating the mundane low-value work so we can spend our time on the things that add the most value to our organisations. Embracing technology will help us work more flexibly, avoid wasteful meet­ings, and reduce needless email. It will enable us to master modern ways of working.

Tomorrow will be automated, but there is no need to fear a machine apocalypse. The future will see happier and more purposeful workers who know they are spending their working hours doing things that not only matter, but that they are also best at. That’s a future we all want – together with robots that can bring us coffee in the morning, of course.


Sunil Prashara

President & CEO 

Project Management Institute



The digital disruption accelerated by advances in RPA, AI, big data, design thinking and no-code/low-code app develop­ment will result in the creation of jobs that require a skillset that transcends technical expertise. Those who come to the forefront will be creative – people who understand business processes, who are technically savvy but also understand customers’ needs. Success will require people to excel at relationship building while being analytical, pragmatic problem solvers. Companies will continue to rely on and value the ability to execute, but technological skill will comple­ment a broader array of necessary talents.

The new professional reality demands a combination of technical and project man­agement skills, leadership skills and strategic and business management skills, as well as the ability to learn and keep pace with technology. To inspire stakeholders and motivate teams, leaders will need more than intellectual and technical prowess. They will also need the ability to tap into emotional intelligence qualities such as empathy and self-awareness.


Sean Trainor

Safe Places To Work



We live in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. This is compounded inside the work­place by advancements in technology and disruption to traditional business models. With the workforce feeling increasingly anxious and fearful of the unknown, organi­sations need to create safe places to work. The biggest priority when preparing for the future of work is therefore people, not processes or technology. People are the enablers for change, and putting people first means inspiring the workforce to adopt new ways of working and providing the psychological safety to remove the fear of the future.

The fearless organisation has authentic leaders that accept vulnerability, inclusive teams that embrace difference, and engaged employees who have a voice without fear of retribution or ridicule for speaking up on ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes. Safe places to work attract and retain the best people by giving them a voice and building the agility, resilience and capability needed to become fit for the future.

Safe Places To Work’s purpose is to create safe places to work, one voice at a time.


© Business Reporter 2021

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